New Credential

I just got another credential today, an MAC, or Master Addiction Counselor, from the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals.

Look (listen) for me on Wednesday, March 30 from 2-3:00 on KABF 88.3.

Click to go to the KABF website where you can listen live. 

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This photo is actually from our spring break trip to Florida.  Sanibel at Sunset.

Directions

I am centrally located in North Little Rock’s Argenta District, at the corner of 4th and Maple Streets, on the back side of the First Presbyterian Church.  Although I rent office space from the church, my business is not a faith-based enterprise.SAP North Little Rock Location

GPS does pretty good directions to 201 West 4th Street, North Little Rock, AR 72114.

From I-30, take the Broadway exit and head West, past Verizon Arena.  Cross both Main and Maple Streets (both have traffic lights) and turn Right on Orange Street.  Take Orange North, crossing 4th and turn right onto the alley.  You will see a large vacant lot and a community garden on your right.  Park in the lot and walk down the alley towards Maple.  Enter through the second door, below the sign for Infrared Studios.  This is the door.

Counselor Drug Little Rock

 

If you are using the bus, take either the 4 or 10 routes.  Inbound the bus runs directly in front of the church, on Maple Street.  Outbound, it is on Main, one block East.  The Blue Line (trolley) also runs on Maple with stops at both Broadway and 6th Street.

Unfortunately, there is not a bicycle rack; however, if you are on a bike, I am sure that we can find some way to secure it, provided that you have a lock, and a bike of course. I am not so sure about personal helicopters, jet packs or teleportation devices; but, if that is what you are driving and you want to come see me, bring it on.

See you there, Chris

Addiction Counselor North Little Rock SAP sign

I will be on the radio again in March.

I just spoke with John Sarna, with 88.3 KABF’s show “It Could Be You” and set a date for another on-air interview, March 30, 2016 from 2-3:00 PM.  The format is part presentation, part discussion and part call-in.  If you type in:  http://www.kabf.org and click on the “Listen Live” link, you can hear it anywhere in the world.

I came up with a short list of topics that I would like to touch on, including the role of substance use in crime, symptoms of sobriety, and meeting challenges.  There are a few others; but, I think we will find plenty to talk about.

So far, my practice has been going well.  I have visited with a number of referral sources and treatment centers and been well received.  I have yet to be kicked out of anyone’s office and nobody has tried to eat me.

I will post a link to that show when I get it posted.  I have asked for a recording of the one I did earlier this month and will post it as soon as I am able.

Hours, Contact Information, Etc.

I am generally available most weekdays from 9 to 5.  If you need another time or day, just contact me and we will figure something out.

I try to never answer the phone when I am doing something important such as driving, talking with a client, or eating dinner.  If you get my voicemail, leave a message and I will do my best to get back to you as soon as i can.

Texting or email in o.k. for setting or changing appointments; but, i will not be discussing clinical issues via text or email.

All that said, it is easiest to reach me by calling:  (501) 478-0182

My email address is: christopherhgerhart@gmail.com

 

Fees, finances and why I do not accept insurance

Just before I started working for myself, actually for you, the customer, I became significantly disillusioned by the sheer volume of paperwork that was required by both insurance companies and government funding agencies just to sit down with a client and say:  “I am glad you are here.  So, what would you like to talk about today?”

If you have not noticed, government agencies and insurance companies have some very peculiar and particular ideas about what and how much information needs to be collected, collated, copied and filed before services can begin.  I really believe that if someone is interested and willing enough to walk through my door, then they already have a pretty good idea about what they would like to talk about.

Over the course of our professional interaction, we may get around to some pretty personal details over the course of our conversations and counseling sessions, or we may not,  it depends more on you than on a government or an insurance form.

One thing that I learned in my previous career as a chef was that the customer is always right and the reason for that is that they are the ones paying the bill.  If I made them a lousy meal or they had a terrible experience at my establishment, then they did not come back, and they told their friends about it. I am bringing the same approach to my counseling practice because I believe that it works.

Some time ago, I was working for a state-funded treatment agency, serving predominantly a criminal justice population sentenced there for substance abuse treatment as part of their probation or parole.  There was a pilot program where the participants paid a nominal fee for each group and individual counseling session that they attended.  Initially, I though that it would not work as they did not have much money and had many other financial obligations.  I was wrong, dead wrong.  The clients that paid something for their treatment had far more favorable outcomes than those that did not.  They missed fewer sessions, were late less often, had fewer positive drug tests and lower rates of relapse and re-offense.   By paying for their treatment, they placed value on it, making it important to them made it work better for them.  Why they stopped the pilot, I do not know; looking back on it, without keeping up relapse rates, treatment businesses might have been afraid of working themselves out of business.

Another reason that I do not accept insurance is that it takes an awful lot of work to file  a claim, ensure payment and negotiate with declined requests for payment.  As a sole provider, I do not want my clinical judgement clouded by a fight that I had with an insurance company over a client’s bill.

The other thing about employer sponsored insurance that I detest is the lack of privacy and confidentiality inherent in the billing system.  In many cases, human resources, owners, managers, their secretaries and supervisors know who is using what type of insurance.  If the insurance company, or any other payer wants to see clinical records, very often they are allowed to, otherwise they do not pay.

Short of you threatening to harm me, yourself or another human being, I am generally not required to report to anyone, anything you may say to me.

Anyway, if you have read this far, you must be interested in what I though would be fair, honest pricing, for fair, honest work.  So, here goes:

  1.  DOT/SAP Assessments $425.  This includes an initial assessment, co-ordination of a referral to treatment or education program, re-assessment and providing a follow-up testing program for employers.
  2. Non-DOT Assessments $150.  This includes an initial assessment and a written summary.  I think that it would be well worth while to find out from an independent source just what appears to be wrong and what may be an appropriate and diligent course of action.  I will be writing a whole post about this later.
  3. Individual Counseling  $50/hr.  Whatever you want to talk about regarding a substance use issue.  I have also talked with couples, partners and family members about strategies, plans and expected outcomes.
  4. Court testimony  $250/day, plus expenses.  I have qualified as an expert witness in a number of courts.  A lot of child custody proceedings have an element of “he said/she said” regarding substance use.  Having an expert opinion can be invaluable.
  5. No shows $25.  My time is worth money to me and my family.  I will gladly reschedule almost any appointment, without a fee, if you call ahead of time.
  6. Substance Education Group $30/hr.  I do not presently have a group schedule; however, if you are interested in this, we can develop one to fit you, at these rates, just know that other persons, with similar conditions may be present.

Anyhow, I am seeking to make a living out helping others to make changes in their lives in regard to their use of substances.  I really believe that treatment that has no cost has no value and treatment that has no value is of no use and may even prolong problems.

 

First Customers

I had my first paying customers last week.  Because of HIPPA, licensing boards and my own personal ethics, I am not going to say anything about them; however, I am extremely happy that I now have an actual business, rather than just an expensive hobby.

A friend just gave me a wonderful desk.  I had to replace a leg; but, it worked out very well.  I am working on a bookshelf/stand for my printer/copier/scanner.  Then I will have somewhere else to put my coffee pot, etc.   I will take and post pictures shortly.

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a safe, happy and healthy new year.

Chris